Gellinger / Pixabay

Did you know that customer experience is poised to overtake both product and price as the #1 competitive differentiator by the year 2020? That’s right – providing customers with a cohesive and pleasant experience at every touchpoint is more critical than ever.

The Predicament

Unfortunately, companies are discovering that the very tool that is supposed to make this possible for them is actually hindering the customer experience ☹️ That tool, of course, is CRM.

Because many popular CRMs were built long before the eras of big data and automation, they require end-users to focus on administrative tasks like logging calls, instead of satisfying customers.

What’s more, these CRMs tend to fill functionality gaps with add-ons that create disjointed workflows and data silos – and nobody likes those, amiright? 😏

The Possibilities

In contrast, there is a newer generation of tools that was built with usability in mind. With features like native email tracking and automated data collection, these tools enable end-users to be more productive and devote their time and attention to showing prospects and customers some love.

Where legacy CRM vendors impose API restrictions (has anyone seen Salesforce’s 50-page API limitation “quick guide”??), these next-generation solutions offer robust and flexible APIs for data sharing across platforms. And sharing is caring, after all 👫

As Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane (who is one heckuva smart guy) put it, “It is more important than ever that the modern business look holistically at the entire customer journey.”

The Prediction

Rather than seeking one CRM to rule them all, companies will begin purchasing department-specific, next-generation solutions and integrating them to build a fully connected customer experience stack.

In fact, we’ve been shining up our crystal ball 🔮, and we’re predicting that in 2018, ⅕ of enterprise companies evaluating CRM will opt for an integrated customer experience stack instead.

What do you think of the new customer experience stack? Do you see it giving CRM a run for its money in 2018? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below and share your thoughts!

And if the suspense is killing you and you’d like to check out all five of our 2018 predictions right here, right now, download The Good, the Bad and the Mind-Blowing: 5 Sales Predictions for 2018.